You have a few vacation days and have always wanted to see your favorite music act at a live performance.
A few clicks of the mouse, and you have great seats at a great price, right?
Not so fast.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has issued an alert advising consumers to be wary of online ticket purchasing scams.
"As we enjoy summer, Michigan consumers should protect themselves from fraudulent online ticket sales tactics," Schuette said.
"Summer concerts are events should not be soured by online ticket scammers looking to make a quick buck," he said in a statement. "Make sure you're buying your event tickets from a reputable online vendor and do your homework to avoid counterfeiting and identify theft."
Schuette offers the following tips to consider before you buy tickets online:
- Know your vendor. If you purchase tickets online, make sure you are buying from a reputable website, especially before providing any personal financial information. Anyone can set up a "spoof" website and make it seem like it is the official website of a legitimate venue or ticket outlet. Counterfeiting is also a common problem on websites that function as online classified postings. When using such sites, consumers should be especially wary of tickets that are listed for sale "by owner," as these tickets are brokered by individual purchasers rather than official venues.
- Do your research. If you are unfamiliar with a ticket vendor, you can call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-765-8388 and ask if we have any complaints on file regarding that seller. Remember, however, that the absence of filed complaints does not guarantee a seller's legitimacy; it simply means that we have not received any complaints concerning the vendor.
- Use credit. If you purchase tickets online, especially through an online auction site, it is recommended that you complete your transaction using a credit card. Using a credit card gives you the ability to dispute a charge for an event cancellation, or if you receive counterfeit tickets a venue refuses to honor. Choose sellers with histories of satisfied customers, and make sure the online bid amount is listed in American dollars.
- Shop securely. If a website begins with "https," the "s" indicates that the website is "secure" when you access the order page of the site where you are asked to enter your personal information. Another indicator of a secure website is an image of a closed lock located at the bottom of your screen. Secure websites take precautions to ensure that others cannot see and copy the personal information you provide.
- Inspect your tickets. Physically inspect your tickets if you purchase them through a third-party source. The venue may also offer feedback about unique features of authentic tickets. Examine the tickets for discrepancies, including text misspellings, official hologram omissions, and bar code irregularities. Remember, if you're getting a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Unfortunately, special events like concerts or festivals are sometimes cancelled by the venue or promoter. When such cancellations occur, the venue, promoter, or other associated planners will sometimes provide consumers with refunds. Other times, the purchased tickets may be honored at a later event. Concerned consumers can read more about avoiding ticket scams at the Attorney General's consumer alert entitled, "Online Ticket Purchasing," available here: 1.usa.gov/16ZVvrp.
For additional tips on how to protect yourself when shopping online, see the Attorney General's consumer alert entitled, "Tis the Season for Protecting Yourself When Making Purchases," available here: 1.usa.gov/YyAZwj.
If you have a complaint regarding tickets you purchased online, please contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Phone: 1 (517) 373-1140, Toll free: 1-877-765-8388
Fax: 1 (517) 241-3771
The online complaint form is available at www.michigan.gov/ag.